Sunday, 20 September 2020

VC65 - 02 - SE4071 - Norton-le-Clay Flowers

Kerry, Muff and I spent a happy day looking for wildflowers in and near Norton-le-Clay, SE4071, just south of Dishforth, as a contribution to the survey of VC65

96 species of higher plants revealed themselves to us in 4 hours. 12.30-4.30 (or 3.5 hours excluding lunch and fungi)
Then Muff and Kerry had to go. 

I could not leave the list at 4 short of 100..

So stayed on and found 4 more species in the village and then 30 more species round the edges of a huge arable field and its adjacent ditch.

I wonder how many more I might have found had the sun not set..

I came home and spent part of the evening searching on Google to see if I could find a litter picker with a long telescopic handle - suitable for grabbing plants out of very deep ditches, that might also double as a walking stick. 

Even with the fantastic zoom on my Lumix camera I still can't work out which Duckweed (Lemna) this is. can you?

There must be a market for such an instrument
(Failed - though am thinking about an apple-picker)
Then I tried to work out  -is this Apium nodiflorum or Berula erecta?

What do you think?
I thought it was Berula - but Plantnet (AI identifying site) gave first choice to Apium. and as I had found Apium much smaller, but higher on the bank in several other places, well maybe it was just Apium. and seeing the flowers now in the above picture it looks like Apium

Close up of Apium nodosum that I had been able to retrieve from a shallow ditch. 

Example of a large field

So back to lunch by the Shaggy Ink Caps


We are still not even sure of the genus of this one.

This was by a sandy path  later


We pondered over this

finally independently deciding on Geranium dissectum

I was pleased when we found, at a gateway some Coronopus squamatus.
Coronopus squamatus - flower near bottom of picture, wavy fruit in centre. I am not sure what the big lumps with white powder are. 

Walnut tree in village

Below: text still to be added

Settle Wildflowers - Day 81 - White 17 - Large Bindweed, Lesser Stitchwort and Grass of Parnassus

The more perceptive off you may have noticed that I have "missed" a couple of days. These are for for more blue/violet flowers which I will fill in later - I have the pictures of the flowers ready - but not the time to add them.

So now on 20 Sept, two days before the autumn equinox, still in full bloom:

1. Large (Greater) Bindweed - Even car botanists should notice this from car windows!

2. Lesser Stitchwort - 
Seen on a walk with a friend in the Forest of Bowland side of Settle- I am still happy to go out on walks near where people live. (Last Thursday I also went out with People from Settle Community Munchers to their new allotment.. but that is for another post)

3. Grass of Parnassus -
On limestone grassland above Langcliffe and Stainforth - I made a special walk, party to find this.

1. Large Bindweed (aka Great Bindweed) 
Calystegia silvatica  scrambling over our hedgerows - e.g. at Langcliffe Hoffman Kiln, The bypass and waste sites.

Calystegia silvatica

The above flower is huge.

2. Lesser Stitchwort  Stellaria graminea

Search in the grass beside lanes running through the more acid grassland areas and you might find the tiny Lesser Stitchwort
This one was on a walk near Routser above Giggleswick Station.
2. Lesser Stitchwort  Stellaria graminea

3. Grass of Parnassus - Parnassia palustris

Finally this realtively rare gem of base rich flushes  - which waits for August and September to appear. This was on a grazed limestone grassland slope (above Langcliffe and Stainforth) .. it must somehow be a specially moist slope.

Sunday, 13 September 2020

Settle Wildflowers - Day 78 - Blue 14 -Violet - Fruit (Non edible) Beside the Settle Carlisle Line

Woody Nightshade Solanum dulcamara

 I haven't written this post fully yet - just wanted to have something up so that I could put the two fruit onto Twitter for #wildflowerhour

Woody Nightshade Solanum dulcamara

Snowberry - Synphoricarpous albus

Saturday, 12 September 2020

Settle Wildflowers - Day 76 - Blue 12 - Harebell, Common Milkwort, Autumn Gentian near Langcliffe

1. Harebell Campanula rotundifolia

Harebell's have been voted "favourite flower" in many areas. I think that is partly because it comes out late - i.e. in the school holidays. It looks very delicate, yet can grow in tough windswept places. The stem leaves are long and narrow - so why is the Latin name Campanula rotundifolia? It is because the basal leaves are round. 

According to the Deborah Stone in the Express "Harebell is a flower of dry, open, windy places from the hills to the sea. It’s one of the species most at risk from ‘fertilizer rain’ – the deposition of nitrogen from the atmosphere. Larger, more thuggish plants flourish under this rain and out-compete the delicate harebell, and it’s now becoming threatened in England."

This picture was taken on 31 Aug (Bank holiday Monday) just above the cattle grid at Winskill Stones Pavement - Plantlife Reserve.

There are some on the closely grazed bank next to the Langcliffe Mill Pond.

2. Autumn Gentian: Gentianella amarella

After I had taken the above picture of the Harebell at Winskill, I was at ground level and in front of my nose were some Autumn Gentians
They have five long narrow sepals and 5 petals.

Autumn Gentian 
Autumn Gentian 

See how the sepal teeth start to narrow as soon as they leave the sepal tube. All the sepals are the same size

If I had had more luck and more time in July I would have searched for Autumn Gentian's much rarer sister plant, the Field Gentian in a site where I have found it before between Langcliffe and Stainforth. However I was too busy then. Field Gentian grows in similar places - shallow limestone soil.

 It only has four petals and four sepals and the sides of the sepals taper.   The two outer sepals are bigger than and overlap the two inner sepals. The picture below is a total cheat - it being from a beautiful heathy meadow in Perthshire, on moraine that was base rich.

3. Common Milkwort: Polygala vulgaris

I wanted to add a third delicate blue flower that also like low nutrient lime rich soils - so I add Milkwort. This picture was taken on 29 May at Lord's pasture. But I feel there is still a chance of finding the odd flower out, if I  keep searching in Limestone Grassland

All its leaves are opposite and are long oval and narrow. (I say this to distinguish if from two other Milkworts which grow six miles from Settle but which I have not yet found within 3 miles of Settle - yet.
The Heath Milkwort which grows on heathy soil and has a few leaves that look as if they are opposite leaves. The rare Bitter Milkwort  grows on tussocks in limestone flushes which has a rosette of spoon-shaped leaves. 

It is possible to find white and pink version of Common Milkwort. Here is a pink one I found on a trip to Malham Tarn... But that's not in my area
Pink form of Common Milkwort

Click here for  more flowers coming out around Settle 

Wednesday, 9 September 2020

Settle Wildflowers - Day 75 - Blue 11 - Scabious

Don't you love the blue colour of Scabious?

We have three different Scabious plants around Settle - 
all three were all photographed in Langcliffe Parish.

Three different genera, all belonging to the Teasel family: Dipscaceae.

1. Devil's bit Scabious - Succisa pratensis
2. Small Scabious - Scabiosa columbaria
3. Field Scabious - Knautia arvensis 

I have got behind with reporting on all my trips the last two weeks and the flowers that are out -including  Giggleswick Railway Station, Path to Cocket Moss, (plus trips outside Settle to Hutton roof, Keasden) - maybe I can report on these in November ...
.. But these three beautiful flowers are all up to date so I want to write about them now, and I photographed two this evening (9th Sept) - shows that Devil's-bit and Field Scabious have declined since the 1950s and the Small Scabious since the 1960s. the places where i found them were either nature reserves or on land with farmers / landowners were particularly sympathetic to nature conservation.

I highlight this point because today the WWF's 2020 Living Planet Report is released today which says "Our planet’s wildlife populations have now plummeted by 68% since 1970"

1. Devil's bit Scabious - Succisa pratensis
It has simple leaves. The leaf bases come together a bit like teasel - in teasel they join together at the base and form a cup 

Devil's-bit-Scabious - Penyghent in the background 6.30pm 9 Sept

Rather cold bee at 6.30pm on Devil's-bit Scabious
at Lower Winskill

Devil's-bit Scabious looking down onto Knight Stainforth
with Smearsett Scar and
Ingleborough in the background

This grows in "unimproved meadows" meadows, especially if slightly damp; and at the edges of fens, in wet heath.  97 percent of our UK meadows have been "improved" by adding lots of fertiliser or by reseeding, so the chance of finding it is pretty low. 
The Plantlife webpage says: "According to one legend the name is derived from the plants' short, stubby roots - the Devil grew angry about the plants medicinal properties and so bit the roots off.

This is a painting by Doris Cairns of the
Devils-Bit Scabious and Knapweed
at Lower Winskill Farm

2. Small Scabious - Scabiosa columbaria

This grows on limestone cliffs and in short limestone grassland. It has been in flower since July. I took these photographs on 31 August - Bank Holiday Monday. The basal leaves are simple leaves. the ones on the stem are very divided with very narrow lobes.

In this picture you can see that the flower at the front has five petals - a five lobed corolla. Scabiosa has 5 lobes; Succisa and Knautia have four lobed corollas.

3. Field Scabious - Knautia arvensis
Of the three scabiouses this is the least common around Settle. This one was taken near the Settle Carlisle Railway on the track from the Hoffman Kiln to Langcliffe - There is some on the side of the railway.

Field Scabious has lobed leaves.

Here is another picture of the same pants taken this evening 9 September.